I am a huge fan of quick solutions.
In fact, I like them so much that I tend to completely steer clear of articles like the one you’re currently reading. I was and remain a skeptic of resources that boast about small lifestyle changes making big differences in life.
I run right past the small changes, scoffing at their claims to be helpful. I want the big solutions. Give me the hard truth. Show me the end goal.
When I face intense suffering and big problems in my life, I just want a quick fix. When I can’t find one, I get discouraged and hopeless.
Recently, however, I’ve been learning about the value of being faithful in small things. Small changes don’t promise big results but that’s just fine. Sometimes we don’t need big results… we just need hope.
I’m not promising you a quick fix. This isn’t about removing you from suffering or solving all your problems. Making small changes helps us learn how to thrive despite our circumstances, whatever they may be.
Small lifestyle changes posture our hearts towards hope instead of despair.
These are just a few small lifestyle changes that I have found helpful in my own life.
1. Remember nutrition and hydration.
When I’m upset and overwhelmed, one of the first things I forget to do is drink water and eat normal meals. I end up dehydrated and depleted of the energy that I need to get through the day. In order to stay energized to take on the day, you need to take care of yourself.
Make a commitment to drink enough water and eat at least 2 normal sized meals a day. Whatever that takes. Buy a cute new water bottle. Meal plan. Give yourself gold star for drinking enough water if you have to. I don’t care how you do it if it helps you remember to take care of yourself.
2. Take a break.
Doing the same thing for too long kills creativity and is a breeding ground for stress. Don’t be afraid to take a break from whatever wears you out. Find a way to recharge by doing something you love. Sleep, read a book, take a walk, do some yoga. Whatever floats your boat. Just find a productive way to escape that gives you rest, energy, and peace. Implementing daily periods of rest helps us reset our brains to take on the tasks at hand.
Breathe. Right now. Relax your shoulders, un-clench your jaw and breathe. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Just relax.
4. Seek connection.
Connection and interaction doesn’t always come easy to me when I’m going through hard times. I tend to retreat deeply into myself and isolate myself from others to find a false sense of protection. But that only leaves me feeling empty, lonely, and hopeless. Connection is so important and should not be neglected, especially in the hard times. Seeking connection intentionally can be as simple as sending a text or smiling at someone. No matter what you’re facing, make an effort to seek human connection every day.
5. Remember Jesus.
Just as food and rest are necessary for our physical bodies, our souls need spiritual food and rest. Just as rest resets our minds, time with Jesus resets our hearts, setting us up for hope even on the hardest days. Don’t neglect church and your Bible because you’re going through hell. That’s when you need the hope of the Gospel the most my friend.
Let the Gospel influence your daily life. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in intense Bible study every day. Talk to Jesus and seek His through the Word. Don’t keep Jesus at arm’s length… he wants to hold you.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I don’t know what trials you are facing today. I don’t know if there are any easy solutions to fix your problems. What I do know is that God is holding you and you can live like better days are coming.
Small changes may not make the biggest difference, but they will make a difference. Sometimes, that’s all we need to find the strength to carry on for today.
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